The ninja were very knowledgeable about poisons. Poisoning a victim was as effective as stabbing them, but with very little mess or chance of failure. Once the poison was ingested by the victim it was already to late. The poisons were mostly organic based, but some were taken from animals.
One method was to take the fungi poison out of the blowfish or puffer fish. This poison is very strong and can kill in small doses. Another animal based poison was the bufo marinus. The bufo marinus is a large toad with an extremely toxic poison behind its eyes. This poison was often used on darts, arrows and spear tips.
Spiders and scorpions were also used. Not always just the poison extracted from them, but sometimes it was just as easy to slip a couple of scorpions in the bed of the victim.
One of the organic poisons used was made from common fruit. Cyanide was extracted from a variety of sources, such as apple seeds, plum seeds, cherries seeds and many more. It was readily available to the ninja and was used often.
Tomato and rhubarb leaves also held a poison. Eating the leaves cause cardiac problems, ultimately resulting in cardiac arrest.
The amanita phalloides is a deadly mushroom. The poison in the mushroom was 10 times more powerful than that of cyanide. Eating the mushroom was certain death, and it was easy to slip a piece of the mushroom in almost any meal.
The poison could be used in various ways, depending on the situation. For example, if the ninja could slip it into the victims food while its being prepared. Without knowing what kind of danger he was in, the victim would eat the food infested with the poison. Not all the poisons used by the ninja were fatal, some of them were used to merely paralyze or cause blindness. It was not always necessary to kill.
Another thing the ninja did was dip their weapons, such as the shuriken or their sword, in the poison. This was so when it punctured the skin of their target, the fast acting poison would take its course, causing much more devastating than the blade itself.
When in full uniform, the ninja's flesh was all hidden, all except a small slit around the eyes and his hands. The tabi boots had a slit in between the big toe and the second toes. This was to make it easier for climbing and scaling walls
The shinobi shozoko had many pockets all through it, inside and out. This was for storing all the small tools and weapons he needed, such as poison, shuriken, knives and so on. The ninja also carried a small, primitive, first aid kit, filled with potions and solutions
Not all jobs required that the ninja wear the shinobi shozoko. Sometimes the ninja dressed up as priests, peasants or even samurai, depending on the job.
Ninja were experts in a variety of weapons. Weapons such as small and large swords, bow and arrows, knives, bo (staff), scythe and chain, shuriken and many others. When empty handed the ninja are very dangerous, but armed, they are very deadly. Below is a list of the weapons used. If you have any information on any weapons I might have missed, please let me know.
The ninja sword (ninja-to) was different than that of the samurai. The long sword that the samurai carried was made of high-carbon steel, and took months to have made. They were hand made specially for each samurai, taking great care to make a very high quality sword. It was so sharp that it could easily cut a man in two, even through their armor. The length of the samurai swords averaged around 26 1/2 to 37 inches.
The ninja sword was considerably shorter, only 24 inches, and the quality of the swords was much poorer. The reason for the poorer quality was the way they used the sword as opposed to the way the samurai used theirs. Samurai would swing their sword, severing limbs and slashing at the opponent. Ninja, on the other hand, used the sword more in a stabbing motion. To use the blade of the ninja sword effectively you would have to use
a sawing motion when the blade came in contact with the opponents flesh.
Another reason for the poor quality of the swors is that since ninja were mostly mountain people and outlaws, they could not afford to hire expert swordsmiths like the samurai could. Also their own swordsmiths did not have access to the right resources to be able to make curved edge swords with well constructed blades. If a Ninja could overcome a samurai he would take his swords, simply because they are better.
Although the ninja sword was smaller and poorer quality, it still had its advantages. The scabbard for instance was made longer than the sword, about 3 to 4 inches longer. At the end of the scabbard there was a hidden compartment that was used to hide small weapons such as spikes, daggers or small amounts of poisons. Another use the sword had was that it could act as a small step by jamming the blade into the ground, the ninja could use the hand-guard as a step to get that extra height needed to scale a wall. Because the blade was not very sharp, the ninja could also use it as a hammer by holding onto the blade (carefully) and hitting with the handle. Also it was common to have the tip of the scabbard come off so it could be used as a snorkel.
& Jo (Short Staff) :
The staff was one of the most important weapons in the ninja's arsenal. It was generally around 6 feet in length, made of hard wood or bamboo and was hollow. The reason for the hollow was another trick of the ninja trade. By flicking the bow with great speed, the ninja could launch a poison tipped dart or small knife out of the open end of the staff, often catching the opponent off guard.
Another trick they had for the bo was to conceal a chain inside it. Then, when engaged in battle, it could quickly be released and used as a weapon. This was called a shinobi zue, and was easily disguised as a walking stick or staff.
The Kusarigama is a combination of a sickle (short scythe) and a long chain with a weight attached to the end of it. The sickle was used in a slashing or stabbing motion, as well as used to block and hook opponents weapons. By holding the chain portion of the weapon, the sickle could be swung around to get a greater reach with it.
The chain portion of the weapon was most often used for trapping an enemy or his weapon. Once tangled up with the chain, the ninja could finish him off with the sickle. This was a weapon the ninja invented out of farming tools they used.
Shuriken (Throwing Star) & Poison Tipped Darts :
The Shuriken is the trade mark ninja weapon made famous by the movies and stories about the ninja. The Shuriken was simply a flat piece of metal with sharpened points that were thrown at the enemy.
The Shuriken was not originally designed as a killing weapon. It was mostly used to distract or deter so the ninja could escape. While in the midst of a get-away, the Shuriken could be thrown at the samurai chasing the ninja, possibly making the samurai think twice about continuing the chase.
Although the Shuriken was not intended to kill, it was easily made lethal by dipping the edges in poison. This was effective, but sometimes it backfired when the ninja would accidentally cut himself while digging around for it, thus poisoning himself.
Shuriken were also designed to hit the opponent then bounce away out of sight. This way a ninja could fool an unsuspecting guard or sentry into believing he had been cut by an invisible swordsmen. (One of many mental tricks)
The ninja would use the poison darts different depending on the situation. It was not un-common for the ninja to carry poison darts in his mouth so they could be blown into the enemy's face at close range. If they needed to kill someone quietly, a dart could easily enter the body and be withdrawn without leaving a mark. From a distance the dart could be shot with a blowgun.
Ninja women would hide the poisonous darts in their hair. When the victim was preoccupied with something else, the ninja would stick them with the dart.
Tetsu-bishi (Calthrops) :
Calthrops are small metal weapons shaped to that one point is always up. They, like the shuriken, were a weapon used for distraction while fleeing. The ninja would scatter the calthrops behind them and anyone unlucky enough to step on them would not likely continue with the pursuit. They could also be thrown, and dipped in poison like the shuriken.
Shuko (Tiger Claws):
Shuko were a pair of metal "claws" attached to the palm of the ninja's hand with a strap. There were usually four sharp spikes on the bottom. These were used in close combat acting like an animals claws. When used the ninja could rip open their enemy with a couple of swipes.
The Shuko also acted as a tool that aided the ninja in climbing, much like the claws of a cat. This made scaling walls easier. Finally, the shuko could be used to block or break sword attacks. This is done by catching the sword between the claws and twisting. Probably not a good idea against a Katana or Wakizashi. But would work with weaker swords.
Another variation of the Shuko was the Nekade. The Nekade were individual claws that were tied to each finger.
Manriki Gusari (Chain) :
The Manriki Gusari was a chain usually about 3 feet long, and weighted at both ends. It was developed as a self-defence weapon but was also a wicked offensive weapon in the hands of a ninja. It was small and easily concealed in the palm of the ninja's hand, or in a sash.
While holding one end of the chain, it could be swung around and used as a whip. The weighted end could cause a great deal of damage.
The fukiya, or blowgun, was a staple in the Ninja's arsenal since it was so versatile. The fukiya was used to shoot darts (sometimes poisoned) at an enemy from a distance and, since it made almost no noise, the Ninja's hiding place wasn't threatened by using this weapon. Aside from launching darts, the blowgun could be used as a snorkel while the Ninja was underwater. Since the fukiya was made of bamboo, it blended in with the reeds in the water, therefore enabling the Ninja to stay submerged for hours, if necessary. Metsubishi could also be delivered through the fukiya by shooting small paper containers filled with pepper and metal shavings at an enemy's face.
Though not a primary weapon of the Ninja, nunchakus (nunchucks) were also used since they could be adapted for many situations. Aside from being easy to carry, the nunchakus were used to defend against most any weapon from a bo to a sword. By trapping the blade of a sword with the chain between the two sticks, a Ninja could entangle and disarm a sword-weilding attacker. The same concept applies to almost every other weapon. The nunchakus were not just used for defense, they could also be effectively employed against an enemy in an offensive way. The Ninja could strangle an opponent or even execute joint locks with the chain or cord between the two sticks
The tanto, or knife, was an important weapon in the Ninja's arsenal. Like the ninja-to, the tanto was not made of the high quality steel that the Samurai's sword was but the Ninja made up for this by using the tanto as a multi-purpose tool. The tanto was used to pry open door, dig holes or small ditches, or it could be thrown like a shuriken. Of course, the tanto was also used to cut and stab an opponent.
Metsubishi : Metsubishi, or "eye closer", were used to temporarily, or sometimes permanently, blind the enemy. Hollowed out egg shells, paper bags and short bamboo tubes were filled with a combination of sand, metal filings and pepper and were used to attack the eyes of an enemy. Egg shells and paper bags were used by throwing the fragile containers at the opponent's face, causing it to break on impact and scatter the contents across the face and into the eyes. Bamboo tubes were sealed with paper or wax and, when the seal was broken, the tube was flung in the direction of the opponent, sending the contents into the face, blinding him.
Usually, metsubisi were used to make an escape when surrounded or cornered or if the Ninja felt there were too many opponents to fight at once. For example, if a Ninja were faced with 5 or 6 opponents, he might use metsubishi to blind 2 or 3 of them while he dispensed of the others.
The The kaginawa, or grappling hook, was a climbing device consisting of a pronged hook with 12 to 15 feet of rope attached. The kaginawa was used to scale walls or to swing across large gaps, however, it could also be used as a weapon. By holding the rope and swinging the hook over the head, the Ninja could strike his opponent with the sharp prongs of the hook or the rope could be used to entangle the enemy and enable the Ninja to strike with another weapon.
Shuko and Ashiko :
These were steel or iron bands that were tied over the hands and feet and used as climbing aids. With the use of shuko and ashiko, a Ninja could scale a wall or climb a tree in a matter of seconds. In fact, many Samurai were reported as saying the Ninja could "climb like a bear."
Metal grips :
Since the Ninja had to be prepared to run over any and all terrain, they often carried metal strips with a spiked edge on one site. These strips were tied to the bottom of the Ninja's tabi to gain a better grip over uneven or slippery terrain. These would be the equivalent of the spiked shoes that many athletes wear today.
Smoke Bomb :
This circler bomb of smoke was made famous by the ninja movies in the 80's. For a quick get away this bomb could be filled with gun powder to make an explosion and smoke -
"Eggs" are hollowed out through little holes, and then the empty containers are used to store the various ninja powders. They shatter on impact, releasing the powder in a cloud to affect the target.
Skills to develop :
Art of STEALTH WALKING :
Maintain balance control by allowing your body weight to sink and be carried by deeply flexed knees.
Remember to breathe along with your movement. Unconsciously holding your breath can unknowingly produce unneeded muscle tension, and could result in gasping release of breathe if you are startled or accidentally unbalanced.
Stay alert to the entire scene. Do not become so engrossed in watching your feet that you do not notice other people an elements entering the surroundings.
Use all joints for movement, emphasizing fluidity through the engagement of the ankles, knees, and hips for stepping. Avoid the lazy and dangerous habit of stiffening knees and swinging the entire leg from the hip.
Maintain your weight and balance on your grounded leg while you move the other leg into position to bear the weight. When absolute silence is a must, avoid distributing your weight over both legs at the same time.
If practical, allow your hands to float lightly in front of and beside your torso, one arm higher and one arm lower, to detect possible obstructions before your committed body weight encounters them.
Pause and hold your position if you feel that you have accidentally caused too much noise. Listen for signs that you were heard, such as the movement of others or the immediate silencing of background noise following your slip. Sink a little lower on your knees to physically relax that could normally jump into your body with alarm. Take a deep breathe and release it slowly to further relax. Continue your pause for as long as you feel is necessary to regain composure and allow possible listeners to decide they did not hear anything after all.
Be as patient as possible. If speed of travel is not important, take as much time as you can. Impatience and the resultant hasty movement that it encourages are the greatest dangers to the person who must move silently without detection.
Keep your movement appropriate to your surroundings. Do not go to greater lengths than necessary to conceal your movement, while at the same being aware of what others entering the area may see if they cannot hear. Total silence may not be needed when moving through wooded or densely populated areas where scattered noise is a natural part of the environment. Also be aware that low profile crawling or sliding ma be the only way to move silently without being seen in some locations.
The Knife :
"That's not a knife... this here is a knife..."
Since the beginning of time, the knife has proven a very practical and efficient tool for survival. Familiarized most recently this century through a rage of Rambo and Crocodile Dundee type films, the knife is given its due respect. Even with advancements in todays technology, this easily concealed item will be the most confronted weapon on the street or in the work place. Knives and sharp objects can be found anywhere from the toolbox to your assailants back pocket.
Practice makes perfect, the more training you have the better. It won't be as easy as learning a few fancy disarms. You have to perform each technique hundreds to thousands of times in order for it to be useful in combat. This could take years when incorporated with other training, that is what makes a real black belt in the warrior arts over a "wannabe" who just expends cash to buy the belt instead of earning it. We emphasize students to be prepared for a realistic situation. We are not saying a student will escape a knife attack unharmed while disarming and locking up his opponent. What we are saying, is that you must increase the odds of self protection through realistic repetition in training.
When defending against a blade wielding assailant or assailants, one must first accept the possibility of being cut. If one does not accept this likely chance of being wounded, it could result in unnecessary movements and incorrect timing. Fear of getting cut must be overrun with the fear of losing your life. Remember, the knife is just an object, harmless by itself, it is the attacker you are fighting not the blade. Defending against a blade attack is not easy and the focus of training should be directed towards increasing your chances of survival. Your objective is to survive, start to worry about a cut on the hand and you could be in big trouble. Sometimes it is important to sacrifice an area of the body to the blade in order to improve chances for escape or to subdue your opponent.
Never underestimate your opponent or your chances
If your attacker is unskilled, your odds of surviving are increased, but if your attacker is skilled, it is a dangerous situation giving little chance to go unharmed. There are ways of telling if the opponent is an amateur or expert. It is impossible to know exactly how much knowledge your attacker has. Each opponent should be treated with the same level of respect. The idea is to avoid all confrontations if possible. This concept is especially important when your opponent has a weapon or there are more attackers. This is where reflexive training will increase your chances of escape and survival. Observation of your environment might reveal something to give you an edge. By checking your surroundings you can improvise a weapon of your own. Below are a few you might find practical.
Jacket - This can be used to wrap around the arm for protection or used as a weapon to entrap the incoming blade. Jackets can be swung or thrown to aid in self protection. You can use the jacket to strike to the eyes or even make use of the zipper to cut across the face.
Belt - A belt or scarf can also be used to entangle the attacker for disarming purposes. A belt buckle may be used to slash at face or hands.
Purse or bag - These can be used for protection and weapons alike. They might be used as distractions to allow a quick getaway or chance to attack. Items in a purse or bag might also prove useful.
Trash cans, tables, etc. -These can be used as practical barriers between you and your opponent. A trash can lid could be used as a shield, a bottle or other items might also be found. You may even come up with a weapon more dangerous than your assailants.
Often you will see books, films, goof ninjas, basic karate and the self made black belt demonstrate very unrealistic knife defenses. Reacting to a blade or other weapon by actually catching the weapon with their bare hands. This type of action is complete nonsense and very UN-practical. This kind of demonstration will been seen with replica knives (rubber, wooden, etc.) and even then it is still rare.
On the Offense
When disarming a knife it is important to know your opponents vital points and primary striking areas - practical use of evasion, blocking or deflecting techniques, are important. An understanding of anatomy instructs a student on ways of striking or attacking the opponent. The following are a few primary striking areas that can be used to immobilize or distract your opponent.
Throat (in close combat, locks, strikes and chokes)
Whenever applying a strike it may be useful to kiai as well. A kiai is meant to break the concentration of your opponent, also to speed up your adrenaline flow which results in a sudden surge of power. A kiai is also good for controlling your own pain and fear. A kiai doesn't have to be loud - it just has to be harnessed.
On the Edge
The blade itself is another area of importance which can affect how you will defend yourself in a fight. A double edge may be more difficult than a single edge. A longer blade will give your assailant a good reach, however, when in close, it will be difficult to use. A small blade will be weak at long distances, but will prove valuable in tight situations. Whether your opponents knife is long, short, wide, pointed or shiny, they must all be treated with equal respect. Whether you're from Australia or not.
Tip of the Tips
When confronted with an assault it is imperative to remain calm and observe the situation. Quick tempers and hasty decisions can result in your own tragedy. This way you can get a clear perspective of all the available options. Often times you can work your way out of the attack using intelligent speech or psychology. However, when your opponent jumps from out of the shadows you have to rely on natural reactions (built with repetitive training) for self defense. Below are a few tips to remember that will help keep you from adding to the list of blade victims:
* Avoid dangerous situations.
Listen to your gut feelings, sometimes natural instinct is all you have between life and death. Avoid risky and hazardous surroundings where problem situations are more likely to occur. This includes people as well as places.
* Stay in control.
Never allow your friends, your ego or your emotions affect your reactions. Keep a clear head, avoid interference and make a rational decision. It is always better to respond than it is to react, whenever possible.
* Never underestimate your opponent.
Do not be trapped with a false confidence. Also, don't rely on looks alone and remember a knife can be easily concealed. If someone is over confident they might be armed, so be aware and be nice.. Look for signs that determine whether or not your attacker is an amateur or professional, but realize you will never know how much knowledge a person has.
* Review and evaluate the situation and surroundings.
Can you avoid the situation. Is the reason for combat worth the risk of your life? Can you escape? Is someone's life in danger? Where can you run and what can you use as an improvised weapon?
* Stay calm and accept the possibility of being cut.
Don't get the shakes because you are trying to protect yourself from being cut. Let your confidence and skill overrule.
* Train often and realistically.
Training under the supervision of a good instructor in a realistic setting will better prepare you for victory. Experiment with different scenarios and various approaches. Discover what works and what doesn't.
Everyone is a potential target
Whatever the cause or causes, the threat of a knife attack is real, the possibility of being mugged or physically attacked exists for everyone. It does not matter who you are, where you live or where you work. The fact is it is a possibility. In order for us to learn to defend against a weapon it is important to learn how one attacks or uses the weapon. If you wanted to learn the best ways of defending against a gun you would first have to learn how to use it. Thus giving you background in how your opponent might react or think. This concept is the same with knife training or any other weapon for that matter. The knife has many advantages for the would be assailants know what they are.
1. Easy to obtain
2. Easy to conceal
3. Simple to use
4. Silent and deadly
All these advantages only lead us to realize that modern day martial artists should be skilled in knife training.
The first and most important levels of training start with empty hand against the knife. Next is knife versus empty hand and then knife and weapons versus knife. Considering most people don't carry a readily accessible weapon with them at all times, we must put emphasis on the first area of empty hand training. Tew Ryu is one of the only martial arts schools that teaches its advanced students knife defenses against a real blade. If training only consisted of using a rubber or wooden knife, you would not respect the blade as you would a deadly edge. It must be noted that this or any other training must be done under the supervision of a qualified instructor.
Training only with a rubber knife causes you to take chances and develop bad habits that can result in serious injury when confronted with a real life threatening situation. Of course it is important in the beginning to train with a safe replica to ensure safety until the fundamentals and special skills are learned. When you begin training with a real blade you begin to develop confidence in your own abilities and will not let fear overrule your actions in a real fight.
Pay attention to your attackers eyes, fear, anger and security are all telegraphed by eye expression and movement.
An example of a technique we often use is when you hand over your wallet you might slip it through his fingers or accidentally drop it, that split second he uses to focus on the wallet or ground gives you plenty of time to react. Even the blink of an eye, sudden sound, movement or the inhalation of breath may give you the chance you need if your speed and timing is right.
It is usually best to avoid going for the weapon directly. Don't risk a cut leg, arm or worse a cut artery. Sometimes it is better to kick in order to keep distance and avoid getting close or cut. Kicking must only be used by skilled practitioners and best with protective shoes or boots, it is easy to fall or trip. All jumping spinning flying kicks should be left in the classroom. Learn to see a possible attack before it happens, so you can avoid it. You might be surprised how much body language an attacker will translate before he executes his move. If you learn to translate this language you can prepare yourself for better protection. If the situation is unavoidable then make sure you are prepared through hard realistic training by a professional instructor. Nothing can guarantee your survival, but with knowledge in the arts you can gain the skills necessary giving you the defensive edge.
"You might see me, but can you perceive me?"
The art of invisibility has always been a popular topic, especially in the media. But who are these masters of the "very hard to see?" Warriors in the woods, Ninja's in black or even the special forces - black, green and aquamarine? I guess it is safe to say that in today's world, we have many students of the art.
This popularity was brought on by books, magazines and the ever growing Ninja films - not to mention the fact that it often serves as a realistic tool. Of course other forms of media and entertainment attention does its share to bring awareness to this art. For example, the villain in the "Blair Witch Project," David Copperfield, Rambo, all the good presidential candidates, and perhaps even OJ Simpson. All of which either were masters of stealth, invisibility, survival, hiding, and/or verbal claims such as, "I wasn't there."
Let me start by saying, there are no deep dark secrets about the art of invisibility, (unless of course we really are talking about the above media sources) even though it may create an awe of mysticism in the eye of your adversary. Invisibility is the art of employing a simple technique (or techniques) and skills utilized in the most effective manner to make one hard to perceive or hear.
None of what you learn here will teach you to just disappear. If an instructor boasts about his skills to turn invisible - simply bring him back down to earth by asking them for a visual demonstration. The problem with most schools on eclectic warrior arts is that they make claims that can never be proven. This and all articles on Total Warrior Internet Magazine are based on realistic approaches towards training. We will not (and I hope you don't either) concern ourselves with black magic or concepts based on ancient history and story telling.
If you truly want to master the art of invisibility, I would suggest you throw away your ninja books and text guides to wearing black. Instead, turn to the real masters of the art - illusionists and magicians. These masters of perception will offer far more in the art of disappearance, than any real ninja could muster up.
Please note, we are talking about the art of illusion and the way a person perceives reality. I highly doubt a magician will be able to teach you the physical side of invisibility: such as footwork, climbing, moving quietly etc.
So, until you manage to track down David Copperfield - here are a few tips to improve skills in the physical realm.
To be invisible, you must not be seen or heard in a way that would distinguish you as YOU.
Remember that famous forest with that famous tree that falls with no one to hear? You know, the one that ends with this question: If there is no one there to hear, does it make a sound? Once and for all "yes," the tree does make a sound. Why, because if you were there - you would hear it and you would say, "wow that was loud." Regardless of your presence or your perception of reality, the tree will always make the sound. The real question is simply confusing how we define the word "sound" and associating that to our hearing. When in fact the falling of the tree creates a noise as a fact regardless of the way we perceive definitions. This is another concept of invisibility. Both the theory and the tree remain elusive and thus invisible.
Okay, let me take you out of the woods before we all get lost. The concept of invisibility means that you can make sounds and even cross within your opponents visual sight, but you must not be perceived.
So, you can be within your enemies eye sight, in fact he may even see you. However, because you have blended into the surroundings, you are not perceived. Another example is "Where's Waldo?" You may be looking for Waldo, who is well within your sight, but unless you perceive him, he remains invisible.
Invisibility is the art of blending in, becoming an insignificant part of our environment and disappearing within it. Hey, this reminds me of high school.
So, in order for us to remain invisible - we have to master the art masking any and all indicators. An indicator is something that would basically say, "hey, it's me and I'm hiding behind this rock."
We mask indicators by developing our skills in one area - Camouflage
Obviously you want to remain quite when traversing through the woods or a dark alley. The key to concealment is learning and practicing a few techniques. Camouflage is usually seen as green patterned clothing for use in a forest. Camouflage (whether artificial or natural) is actually any and all skills you use to remain unseen. This includes - sight, sound, smell and sense.
The human eye sees movement first. So, this is your number one priority, in order to stay out of sight, you need to know what you can do and what your opponent is trying to do. This goes for all your invisibility training. Here are the basics:
Don't be a jerk
You need to lean to move with patience and fluidity. Jerky movements are easy to see. Also, don't go disturbing the peace in a natural environment. A flock of birds taking off is a sign that something is in the area.
Better to make a loud sound than to quietly come into view. If you are heard - it does not mean that you will be perceived. Even if it is obvious that you are there. However, if you are seen - not only is it obvious that you are there, but your exact position is now revealed.
What is that? Is that a big black head?
Your visual goal is to remove the distinct shape of the human form. You will also need to pay attention to shape and lighting. Think of what might create a silhouette and know when you should hide, crawl, walk, stealth or run. What kind of uniform or outfit do you have on? Do you stand out or blend in? Are you carrying a big sword or a what looks like a tree branch?
Form - an opinion
Depending on your situation, jogging clothes often make a much better outfit for urban invisibility. Why? Well, what if you happened to be revealed? A jogging suit is much more believable than the embarrassment of having your tabi out in plain sight. For photographs and Ninja films the uniform portrayed looks great, but it is more effective to look like a fallen tree branch than a model for Ninja magazine.
Colors for concealment
In order to be invisible, it is crucial that you wear clothing or material that blends in with your surrounding environment. Colors should have the same intensity, brightness and contrast in order to remain consistent.
Night: Dark blue, black, gray or other dark color
Country: Green and browns
City: Gray sometimes blue
Just because it is night, does not mean a black uniform from head to toe will make you invisible. That outfit will make you stick out and be easy to spot when moving. Unless you remain deep in the shadows, a dark black outfit is not realistic. Remember, black isn't a very natural color - the sky is dark blue not black and trees, leaves and grass are usually made up of greens or browns. Also, a black uniform is limited to night work while a green and brown uniform can adapt when the sun comes out.
Remember, the goal is to remove the distinct shape of the human form. Color choices can help to do this.
Always move from shadow to shadow, rock to rock, obstacle to obstacle. Other strategies and body control are used in combination with your movements. The more you look like part of the surroundings and the less you look like a human hiding behind a bush, the more likely you will remain invisible.
You will usually use your environment in one of two ways: either to hide behind or blend beside. If the area you are hiding behind does not fully conceal your figure or form, then it is important that you shape your body to look like that of your cover. For example: laying down in a field, crouching amongst rocks and extending your arms and legs along tree limbs and branches.
It can take a person up to thirty minutes for their eyes to adapt to the darkness so that they can see. Anyone without this timed night sight, will have greatly reduced vision when looking out into a darkened area. A flash of light is all that is necessary to ruin a persons night vision for another twenty to thirty minutes. What's the tip? Don't lose your night vision and if you can, keep your opponent from developing his. This will allow the shadow warrior to observe his enemy yet still remain invisible and camouflaged in the night.
Note: when watching for things in low light, you will have a better chance of seeing them if your eyes remain unfocussed. You can do this by looking in a circular motion around the object, for example a circular or figure eight pattern.
Most of this is about awareness - your next step will be to develop skills to improve your ability to stay quiet and unseen.
Another major ingredient to the art of staying invisible is your ability to move quietly through various terrain. Following are some practical techniques for stealth, it is up to you to actually make them work. After time and training, you will begin to develop your own style of stealth. Some will be slight variations of what you learned here and some will be completely new and unique to your individual style.
These techniques alone will not make you move through the night as quiet as the wind. This information is only a principle to aid in your practice and is of little use by itself. You must practice until you become very good at moving silently, in turn - staying quiet.
In order to move in silence, we must pay attention (but not focus on) what it is that makes noise in the first place. The next step would be to reduce these "here I am's" as much as possible. In training, you can practice on various terrain's to get a feel of the different techniques you can use.
Okay, you come to a point where you must choose one of two paths. One path is open and laid with sand while the other is narrow and laid with trees. Which path would you take? The sand path will be quieter to move across unlike the tree path which has leaves and branches strewn about. However, the tree path offers cover and camouflage and as we learned earlier, it is better to be heard than to be seen. These type of questions only help to explain the variety of choices you will have to deal with. If you prepare - you can handle the situation appropriately.
Basic guide to STEALTH
S - stepping
T - touch
E - exhale
A - attention
L - listen
T - tolerance
H - harmony
This is your most important skill to staying quiet. You depend on your foot work. Practice won't make it perfect, but it will sure make a difference. Before completing a step, keep your weight on the ground leg until the other leg is in position. This requires balance and harmony to master.
Stepping is only half the battle. Use your hands and feet to feel for obstacles and for clearing the way. Thick soled shoes make it difficult to feel and manage over a noisy terrain. Either where light shoes or go barefoot. The more you can feel your surroundings, the better you chances are of moving through them quietly.
Don't hold your breath when you move. Breath as you step, twist, turn or lower. This will keep you and your muscles relaxed and assist in your ability to adapt with your movements.
Pay attention to your surroundings and not just the ground below. Keep a circular vision at all times - focus when you step, but keep your attention on your environment. This includes all your senses and not just visual.
Stay alert to the sounds you are making and pay attention to the way these sounds correlate with your surroundings. Stop completely if you make a sound, listen for any reactions or any signs of being discovered. Keep a constant ear for any changes in the environment.
Patience is your key to staying quiet. If you are not patient, your movements will be jerky and mistakes will occur. How long can you tolerate standing still? How long can you tolerate remaining absolutely quiet? How long can you tolerate holding your leg frozen in the air prior to stepping?
Stay focused, keep the knees bent and move with all the muscles and joints flowing naturally. Move like a cat - balanced, patient and fluid.
Techniques for stealth
Below are the eight different techniques we teach at TRMS to develop your footwork skills. These skills must be taught to you by an instructor. Spend time with each one separately, then as your skill improves, combine the techniques, so that you are simulating practical use of each.
1. Normal stealthy step
2. Cross step stealth
3. Cat stealthy step
4. Sweeping cat step
5. Stealth crawling
6. The dropping squat
7. The cross crouch
8. The fall back
The only way to develop your skills is to actually practice. Since sneaking around other people may cause some trouble - I suggest you find some other means to practicing your footwork. Here are just a few ideas - expand on these and come up with a few of your own.
1. Here kitty kitty
Try sneaking up to a sleeping cat and touching it before it discovers what you are doing. Please note, that this only works on cats that are active and healthy. Also, stuffed animals won't work and by "cat" I mean a house cat - not a mountain lion.
2. Snap, Crackle, Pop
Another fun thing to sneak up on is a mini-cassette recorder. You need one that has voice activation. Create a distance between yourself and the recorder to sneak up on. Then, play it back to see if you could hear yourself getting closer. Pay attention to all the natural sounds in the environment. Try this in different terrains.
3. Don't turn around
Games are a great way to improve you silent footwork. We play a lot of these at camp, the only requirement is having at least one more person to play with. Here is one that we use a lot. Have your partner stand about 50-100 feet away. Your job is to sneak up to him/her and touch them on the back or shoulder without them knowing you are there. Your partner is trying to listen and has one chance to turn around, but only if you are within touching distance. You win if you touch him/her first and they win if they touch you first.
This next one requires that you know your partner or the other person very well. If you haven't guessed it yet - this exercise requires that you sneak up and scare someone. I used to do this to my family and friends all the time and I was lucky enough that they had a sense of humor. Some people are not very nice and will get very mad if you scare them. So, make sure you know who you are scaring. I have a few interesting stories that came about from the "boo" tactic - for example, my brother once did this (by accident) to a police officer on duty. Although he scared the beegeebers out of the officer - he almost got in a lot of trouble.
The rest you will have to come up with on your own - either that, or join us at a training camp.
A note on Terrain
Dry areas are the loudest and unless you plan to carry a bucket of water with you, try to either avoid dry areas or practice moving through them. Snapping twigs are probably number one cause to losing your concealment.
You never want to hear, "I smelled you a mile away." Along with clothing, you should also conceal any and all other things that might give you away. This includes your smell. Although this may sound obvious it doesn't always smell that way. Cologne and perfumes are easy to smell, so is Mcdonalds. The closer you are to your environment in all aspects, the more likely you are to remain camouflaged within it. Use natural oils from your surroundings to help mask your scent. Heck, take a mud bath.
Remaining invisible is not just a few concepts thrown together to give you an idea about stepping on twigs. You need an overall development. This requires expanding your thoughts and thinking laterally. Many things could have an affect your ability to stay concealed. Here are a few examples:
Are the people you are hiding from are expecting company.
Are you in a group - in which case if one member snaps - you all snap.
Unexpected weather or terrain.
The concealment you had last night - is gone.
A dog is barking at what smells like a big mac and fries.
There is a nearby accident and you are the only one to help.
Did you go to the bathroom before you left the house.
These are just a few - but, if you think about them, you could prepare and or develop a better understanding for the art of invisibility. Don't expect any article to offer you the secrets to mastering the martial arts. No matter how much you know, you still need to develop that knowledge into action. If you want to be good at kicking - kick. This is the same for vanishing into thin air.
Shuriken Jutsu :
Shuriken are primarily weapons of distraction. To be thrown to escape or to cover other actions such as a sword draw. I have only included bo shuriken in this essay as I consider senban shuriken very easy to throw, needing considerably less skill than bo shuriken. But then again, as a weapon of distraction it is not important whether or not the shuriken sticks to it's target, just that the target tries to avoid being hit.
the first thing that should be discussed, is the difference between Bo
and Senban shuriken. Senban shuriken are flat piece's of steel, have
four points and are square shaped. Bo shuriken are rods with one or both
ends ending in points.
Senban shuriken are very easily thrown by holding it in the palm of your
hand with a finger on one edge. The shuriken is thrown by snapping the
Bo shuriken is a little harder to throw. The shuriken
should be gripped in the palm of the hand, upright, so it sits along
side the middle and index finger. Start a short distance from the target
and stand in Doko Ichimonji no Kamae, with the hand holding the shuriken
well back behind your head.
To throw the shuriken, push your palm toward the target, keeping your fingers upright.When the arm is
straigh, the shuriken is released and flies straight toward the target without a rotation (short distance). This method is effective upto 8-10 feet. As you go further away from the target, you compensate by throwing the shuriken harder. It is important not to spin the shuriken at this point. Further distance's are
achieved by placing the shuriken point down in the palm and allowing the shuriken to rotate 180 degrees (half a turn). The throwing method is the same. This may take some practice to get consistent.
There are several methods to throwing bo shuriken. The way described above is the way usually demonstrated by Shihan in demo's in Japan.
I have learned several other methods for throwing shuriken which are also very interesting. One such method was taught by Dave Heald
(Judan Shihan) while at a course in Liphook, Guildford. It involved using San Shin no Kata as a throwing method and was linked to
Kenjutsu, bringing us back to the subject that shuriken are a distraction tool. Here are the techniques studied that day.
Chi no Kata
Tori is in Seigan no Kamae with daito drawn. Letting go with the right hand, thrust the daito into Uke's face while drawing the shuriken from obi at small of back.Perform Chi no Kata , releasing shuriken as though striking with san shitan ken.As the right hand swings forward the left hand draws the sword to the left and behind. After the shuriken is released, regrip the daito with the right hand and cut gyaku kesa giri (R-L).
Sui no Kata
Tori is in Seigan no Kamae with daito drawn. Letting go with the right hand, thrust the daito into Uke's face while drawing the shuriken from obi at small of back.Perform Sui no
Kata. As right hand extends to stike ura kitan ken, release the shuriken. As right hand throws, the left hand moves the sword out to the left. After the shuriken is thrown right hand regrips the daito and cuts with kesa giri (R-L)
Ka no Kata
Tori is in Seigan no Kamae with daito drawn. Letting go with the right hand, thrust the daito into Uke's face while drawing the shuriken from obi at small of back.Perform Ka no
Kata. Release shuriken instead of striking with omote kitan ken. As shuriken is thrown, left hand moves daito to the left side of you head. After shuriken is thrown, right hand regrips daito and cuts kesa giri (R-L).
Fu no Kata
(The throwing techniques for this form was the style as described at the top of this page. )
Tori is in Seigan no Kamae with daito drawn. Letting go with the right hand, thrust the daito into Uke's face while drawing the shuriken from obi at small of back.Perform Fu no
Kata. As the shuriken is being thrown the point of the daito was lowered to the floor. After throw the daito was regriped and tsuki at
Ku no Kata
(Ku no Kata comprised of throwing mulitple shuriken with both right and left hands.)
Tori is in Doko Ichimonji no Kamae, with shuriken in both hands. Throws multiple shuriken with right hand (any of the above methods), while stepping forward with the right foot, then throws the shuriken in the left hand ( any above method) while stepping with the left foot.
These techniques were a lot of fun to do. Don't get to hung up on making the shuriken stick into the target.
If uke flinches or tries to block the shuriken, then that's the opening your looking for to cut him down.
Used in conjunction with metsubushi, shuriken can make an excellent tool for escape.
While the ninja did not regard their shinobigatana (short sword) with the same reverence the samurai gave their exquisitely forged katana, they nonetheless knew and greatly appreciated its incomparable value. It was an extremely versatile weapon/tool that often made the difference between escape and capture life and death. The saya scabbard was usually longer than the short blade, the extra space used to hide messages, blinding powders or explosives; the extra-long sageo scabbard cord could be used for any number or extracurricular activities, including tying up a captured enemy or as a trip wire across a doorway or forest path. And because it was short, the shinobigatana could be easily carried, especially in areas where the cunning ninja were most often to be found: in narrow corridors and alleyways, in tight crawl spaces, up among the tangle of branches of trees or down in a trough or a hollowed-out log. Also, because the blade was not honed as precisely as the supersharp katana, the ninja could not wield it in the same manner as the samurai; instead, he relied more on body weight in motion in order to execute effective cuts. The ninja made better use of his weapon with slamming stabs and thrusts and sawing dragged-edge cuts. In Part One I demonstrated for you the way of loosening the sword and then drawing it. If I am correct, most of you concentrated your attention entirely on the sword; perhaps some of you observed the body motion; I think very few of you noticed the feet. And so, in the following specially prepared photographs I have demonstrated the feet of the ninja in the iai sword drawing technique. After that I have instructed on different ways of carrying and drawing the sword from various positions. And then, in conclusion, I have demonstrated the proper way to sheathe the
shinobigatana. After all, once a weapon has been drawn and served you well, it should be put away properly.
Please note that I am holding the sword guard tightly with the thumb of my left hand while keeping my right foot diagonally to the right, backward. This shows my determination not to draw the sword at random.
However, I am obliged to draw the sword as I shift my body weight and my left foot diagonally backward in order to cripple the attacker's fighting power.
THE EIGHT WAYS OF FOOTWORK The iai sword drawing techniques require free movement of the feet. Now let me show you the shinobi iai happou sabaki (eight ways of footwork of the ninja
iai) (1). Please watch the cross carefully. First you move your feet sideways. Take a step to the right by moving your left foot before your right one (2). Moving to the left you move your right foot before your left one (3). Moving your left foot diagonally to the left backward (4). Moving your right foot diagonally to the right backward (5). Moving straight forward (with the right foot because the ninja is right handed)(6). Moving diagonally to the right forward (7). Moving diagonally to the left forward (8).
Attaining Invulnerability :
Invulnerability is an attitude, a quality, a way of being. It is not so much a static state as a fluid process. To become invulnerable is to become inaccessible rather than indestructible. There is no such thing as absolute physical invulnerability. Here are ten steps to achieving invulnerabiliy in your life.
1. Be calm, still and centered.
Stillness is first a matter of physical arrangement, then of mental quietness. Calmness results from stillness maintained over time. By themselves, stillness and calm are fragile conditions. Centeredness is stillness and calm in the face of outwardly chaotic or threatening conditions. Centeredness is a function of motion and centricity. The centered person, though outwardly still and calm, operates at a minimum of two levels--one visible and apparent to others, a second hidden and invisible. It is this second level that is ceaselessly moving and changing, adding fluidity and unpredictability to one's life.
2. Be present focused.
To divide your attention among past, present and future is to weaken yourself. To focus exclusively on the present is to vastly increase your powers of concentration and execution. The key to present focus is full awareness. The ronin's code, "Arise every morning, ready to die", represents an extreme example of internalized present focus and a major element in attaining practical invulnerability. When you follow this code, there is an implicit obligation to "keep the ledger balanced" with all others on a daily basis--a not inconsiderable task. Present focus enables you to experience the process fully without being preoccupied with the result.
3. Be open to experience.
Experience is a chain of significant events. So there are two elements here: openness, and the capacity to discriminate between the significant and the trivial. This form of discrimination arises naturally from full awareness, particularly of the "still small voice" of intuition. Openness is true power, for only as you are open does it become possible to join, blend, and redirect.
4. Touch the earth gently.
Experience should be savored rather than devoured. Think of touching a cloud, holding a newborn in your arms, or laying a needle on the surface of the water so gently that it does not sink. The secret of eliciting a positive response to life lies in touching it gently. Gentleness is true strength.
5. Become a warrior.
To become a warrior is to be totally committed to what you are about in this life--to discover your own truth and live by it. Nothing less than total commitment results in mastery. Warriorship is neither a religion nor a philosophy. It is a way of life that demands everything you have to give, and rewards accordingly. But it is important to understand that neither the paths nor the rewards of warriorship are necessarily the "world's". Warriorship begins in transformation and ends in transcendence.
6. Live tactically.
To live tactically is to deal with the issues of life and of this world wisely, effortlessly,and purposefully. Effective tactics are based upon overriding "strategies". A warrior lives tactically, a master lives strategically. Tactics are personal and situational; they depend on the person employing them and they can vary according to the situation. Here are seven examples of tactics:
(1) Make decisions so carefully that nothing can disturb you or cause you to lose your balance (Don Juan)
(2) Become inaccessible or accessible only by choice
(3) Choose your time and your turf
(4) Learn the wisdom of not-combatting
(5) Know your enemy
(6) Allow (and arrange) the facts to speak for you
(7) Don't allow others to make you part of their problems.
7. Recognize paradox as a condition of this life.
Paradox--when things are not as they seem to be, or when two truths appear inconsistent with one another--will always attend residence in the human body and in this world. Paradox is part of the "cloud of great unknowing" and evidence that the human and divine order are quite different. To admit the existence and legitimacy of paradox in your life is to increase your openness to new learning.
8. Acknowledge a higher power.
This is faith put to the test, and it makes a difference between an ordinary and an extraordinary life. The key to acknowledgement is letting go--of your prejudices, your favorite positions, and your obsession with being "right". Faith is evidence of openness.
9. Be willing to act on faith in the absence of fact, and the presence of doubt.
Faith can be "the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen." Faith is acceptance of what you know even though it conflicts with your logical/factual mind set.
10. Practice loving unconditionally.
Along with faith--unconditional love--can "move mountains", repair damaged relationships, heal wounds, and bring harmony into your experience as no other quality can. But, not only is it the final step in attaining invulnerabily; it is the most difficult.
Ninja Philosophy in our lifes :
The Ninja still exists today with its philosophy being practiced in business world. The ultimate strength of Ninja that turns impossible to possible is the result of the technique that was developed to bring discipline to body and mind in perfect balance. Learn and practice the ultimate strength of Ninja which will lead you to play an initiative role in business and interpersonal relationship.
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